Title: The Beautiful
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: YA paranormal romance
Release Date: October 8th, 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR
Source: ARC won from Bookish First which did not influence my opinion
My rating: 4 stars
New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.
In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.
When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.
At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.
I was immediately drawn into this story with its vivid descriptions of a New Orleans from yesterday. Even with the paranormal aspect to the story, having been to New Orleans several times over the past year and having wandered around the city on my own, I could feel as if I was right in the story with the characters. The glamor and beauty of the upper society as well as the sinfulness of the underworld that Celine found herself in was so beautifully described, I wish I could have actually seen it with my eyes in pictures. I was kept guessing throughout as to who the killer was, my guess never really landed on who it turned out to be, and I do love when there are hints and clues but you still are surprised. Especially when the surprise is still feasible and makes sense. I’m also pleased that while it had an ending that could satisfy if there were no more books to follow, it is supposed to have a sequel, and the cover is just as beautiful, but in a different way. While we are pretty sure of vampires with this story when you begin and from the synopsis, there are other creatures, and that makes it so much more intriguing of a story.
A few issues I had, one point, somewhat early on in the relationship or scenes between Celine and Sebastien, there are a few lines about it was the first time she’d heard him laugh like that, or the first time he’d smiled like that. That bugged me, because she had just met him, so yeah, it would be the first time she’d have heard or seen those things, and so, really? Now I had to put it down to read some other books I had to review for blog tours, and there were a couple weeks I went without reading at all. When I picked it back up, I had to reread a bit before to remember what had happened with specific people, but all of it really was woven in together well so that in the end it all came together and I got just as wrapped up in at as I had been at the beginning. If I’d had more time, I would definitely have been able, and been happy, to read this over 400 page story in just a day or two. I also loved the first book in this author’s first series, and I can only hope that what happened with that one, I didn’t get the second one as an e-galley or ARC, doesn’t happen this time and slow me down!